“I know what you want and I just can’t give it to you.” My boyfriend of seven months, Jonathan*, started to cry before I could ask any questions. For some reason seeing a man cry immobilizes me. I don’t know what to do. I decided to comfort him. I put my arms around him, squeezing into my tiny love seat to sit next to him. I took his pizza slice and put it in the kitchen. I got him a box of Kleenex.
“I can’t do this anymore. It’s over,” he cried harder now.
His little tantrum had completely robbed me of my ability to feel anything in that moment. All I remember thinking was, I ordered pizza for him to break up with me? What a waste of a pizza!
It wasn’t until Jonathan had left my apartment that I started to sob myself, realizing what had just happened. The man who I thought was the “one” had just dumped me for no good reason. I went through the list of people I knew who would find this situation as outrageous as I did. The list of people who could comfort me. My friend who was trying to cut down on the pot? No. The guy I had broken up with after three years so I could date Jonathan? Definitely not. My 50-year-old co-worker who was obsessed with garage sales? Forget it. That was when Sadie* popped into my mind.
Maybe I could call Sadie. I think she would understand. Never mind that we had only hung out three times. Or that Jonathan had introduced us. Sadie would get it. Maybe it was the fact that she was a 26-year-old New York transplant living in L.A., just like me. Or that she wore crazy-patterned scarves when it was 75 degrees out, or that she had said to me within minutes of meeting, “Hey, can we be girlfriends? Everyone I’ve met here so far is nuts.” Sadie would know what to say.
I picked up the phone and dialed her number. “Jonathan and I broke up,” I told her through sobs.
“Ack, I’m sorry. Why? Because he finally admitted he’s gay? I didn’t want to offend you while you two were together, but I’ve always suspected that he was into dudes.”
I snorted, my tears turning to laughter and then back to tears again. “I thought I was going to marry him. Now I’m going to be alone forever and he was the one who was crying?”
“He cried? What a selfish, little girl. I need to hear all the details. Come over,” she said, “We can go binge-shopping at Forever 21, eat junk food until we vomit, and then watch cable.”
Magic words to my ears.
“I guess I’ll have to dump him now too.” She went on, “No big loss really. He’s actually kind of annoying.”
I went over to Sadie’s that day and many more days after that. She helped me through my breakup with Jonathan, always reminding me that “he’s probably gay” or “just has serious issues with his mother.” She was with me through my painful reentry into the dating world, reminding me, “that guy’s an insecure douche” or “that dude made me fall asleep with my eyes open.” She supported me when I left her to move back to New York.
“New York needs you,” she said the night before I left. We still talk on the phone at least once a week. She’s in L.A. and I’m in New York, but we’ve been going strong for six years now.
A couple of months ago, I found out that Jonathan had gotten engaged. I guess I knew it would happen at some point, but you’re never quite prepared to find out that someone you loved has chosen to love another … forever. I immediately dialed Sadie, “Uh, Jonathan’s engaged!”
“Ack! I know,” she said. “I saw on Facebook. I Googled her already; she’s a ghost. I wonder what she’ll think when she finds out he’s gay?”
I laughed. “You know you were the best thing that came out of that relationship.”
Sadie always knew what I needed and had no trouble whatsoever giving it to me.
*Names have been changed.